Cannabis has been considered as
both an illicit drug and a medicine throughout its history. Introduced
to the UK as a medicine in the nineteenth century, its medical utility
was limited and it was not until tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the
principal active components in cannabis, was isolated in 1964 by Raphael
Mechoulam and his team in Israel that scientific research on the drug
expanded. Further major developments came in the 1980s, when the
cannabinoid receptors in the brain were discovered.
clinicians, policy makers and patients interested in exploring and
utilizing cannabis as an orthodox medication attended this seminar.
Several were involved with the early elucidation of the structures of
the components of the cannabis plant, or with the two MRC-funded trials
in the 1990s into the therapeutic effect of cannabis on multiple
sclerosis (MS) and postoperative pain. The founding director of GW
Pharmaceuticals discussed the problems of growing cannabis plants and
standardizing extracts to produce a medicine that could gain regulatory
approval. Two MS patients related their experiences of cannabinoid
medications and the significance of patient activism and self-medication
in renewing research interest in the potential medical benefits of
cannabis, against the backdrop of increasing recreational use, was also
The meeting was suggested by Professor Virginia
Berridge, who chaired the meeting jointly with Professor E. M. Tansey.
Contributors include: Professor David Baker, Professor Virginia Berridge
Dr Vincenzo Di Marzo, Professor Griffith Edwards, Professor John
Galloway, Dr Edward Gill, Dr Geoffrey Guy, Dr Clare Hodges, Dr Anita
Holdcroft, Ms Victoria Hutchins, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, Professor
Anthony Moffat, Dr William Notcutt, Professor Roger Pertwee, Dr Philip
Robson, Dr Ethan Russo, Professor Tilli Tansey, Ms Suzanne Taylor. One
appendix gives diagrams of the structures of the major plant
cannabinoids and structurally-related synthetic cannabinoids.
Introduction by Professor Leslie Iversen, 132pp, 1 appendix, 5 figures, biographical notes, references and index.
S M, Reynolds L A, Tansey E M. (eds) (2010) The medicalization of
cannabis, Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, vol. 40.
London: The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL.
ISBN 978 085484 129 5
The Medicalization of Cannabis
[PDF 621 KB]